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Inside the World Cup with Maggie Alphonsi III

08 September 2010

Welcome to England flanker Maggie Alphonsi’s RFU.com exclusive World Cup diary, where she shares her thoughts on England’s world cup journey.

In the third and final instalment, we hear about England’s semi-final triumph over Australia and the heartbreaking loss against New Zealand in the final.

Maggie charges through the opposition

Photo: Getty Images

So much has happened since I last got online. We played a great semi-final against Australia on Wednesday September 1, in the Stoop and beat them 15-0 in front of an amazing crowd. It gave us plenty of fire in our bellies heading into the final.

The final was also at the Stoop and we had over 13,000 people turn up to watch, not to mention millions watching on TV. We’d like to think we put on a great show for all those people and proved just how awesome women are at rugby. Unfortunately though, the result didn’t go England’s way.

We came into the tournament to win it. That has always been our focus so to lose to New Zealand 13-10 in the final was massively disappointing. I still feel absolutely guttted. We played our hearts out in the match, we gave absolutely everything, but in the end it wasn’t our day.

The Black Ferns played great rugby though. Tactically they were very sharp but we matched them well. In the opening 20 minutes they attacked us with everything they had but our defence was solid. To be honest, throughout the game our defence was incredible. We may not have kept a clean sheet but we put in some of the biggest hits we have all tournament.

To lose by just three points is excruciating – Maggie

Katy McLean of England shares Maggie's pain in defeat

Photo: Getty Images

I was part of the England squad that lost to New Zealand in the last world cup final. I’ve been hurting from that ever since and I will hurt from this too. To lose by just three points is excruciating but I’m still so proud of us and how well we played.

The crowd at the Stoop lifted us in a way I’ve never experienced. Hearing 'Swing Low, Sweet Chariot' being sung as New Zealand began their haka was amazing and they didn’t give up on us right through to the end of the game. Afterwards we had so many people congratulating us, taking pictures, getting autographs and telling us how much we had done for the women’s game. To get that kind of support, despite not getting the result we were after, was so inspiring.

This world cup has been an incredible experience. I’ve loved every minute of it. Women’s rugby is evolving all the time so to be able to show the world just how well we can play has been fantastic. We’ve attracted so many new fans to our sport and hopefully inspired lots of young girls to take it up.

England's Maggie Alphonsi

Photo: Getty Images

It hasn’t hit me properly that the world cup is over. I can’t believe that I will say goodbye to our squad and management and go back to reality.

I’m feeling very emotional about it all, but I also feel so proud of our England squad and management and what we’ve achieved this tournament. We got to the world cup final and we played an amazing game and I’ll never forget that.

I’ve got a week off so I’m looking forward to some rest and relaxation and switching out of rugby mode for a short while. But only a short while as I’m back to work on Monday. No rest for the wicked, hey!

Thanks again for all your support,
Maggie

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